In each monthly issue of Catnip, we try to provide a good “mix” of topics that will hopefully appeal to the wide variety of cat owners who subscribe, and tangibly benefit the beautiful menagerie of cats that grace our lives. It’s sometimes hard to pinpoint exactly what makes a good issue versus a great one.
And I have to say that in my many years of being involved with a variety of cat publications, this issue is the one that stands out, hands down. Having lived with cats for five decades, I experienced the loss of a number of them at the hands of kidney disease. I am sure that most of our readers can also relate to the death knell of this ultimately fatal, often perplexing — and worse yet, hard to treat — disease more than any other.
And so the breakthrough of the IDEXX SDMA test is something for all of us to celebrate. Not only as the owner of three wonderful cats, but as a person who hears this diagnosis from cat-loving friends and readers, too, on a regular basis. Now, we have the chance to diagnose chronic kidney disease so much earlier that we finally have a fighting chance to slow its progress, to manage it with dietary changes and medicine when necessary — and to provide a higher quality of life. That’s probably the most important component of all.
Our stoic cats don’t complain, and often serious diseases are far advanced before they are diagnosed. This issue of Catnip also includes the various treatments of feline cancer — an insidious disease with treatments that I believe many cat owners are not aware of.
The idea of chemotherapy and radiation for our cats may sound cutting edge (yet strangely medieval), especially when we know what people sometimes have endured in hope of a “cure.” But the truth is that the goal in cancer treatment for cats is a softer, gentler approach with the quality of life being the ultimate goal. The finances and time investment are less than you’d think, too.
I really believe that this issue contains information that will help a good number of cats and their people in the coming year and onward. I look at my own cats resting around the house today — and they all look great, happy and healthy. Yet it has gotten me thinking about the need to include the SDMA test starting at the age of six or so (not all veterinarians include it in the regular chemistry panel, depending on what lab they use, but it can be ordered for a small extra fee — so be sure to ask), and what my options are if one of them is ever diagnosed with cancer.
I honestly feel that this issue has changed my life as a cat owner. I hope it does the very same for you, as well. Happy August!